‘Parliament House can’t be used for dharnas, protests’: Rajya Sabha Secretariat’s new instruction to MPs

The controversy over the list of unparliamentary words used in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha was not even pacified that a new controversy has arisen due to another direction of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat. The Rajya Sabha Secretariat in a directive on Friday said that the Parliament House complex cannot be used for dharnas, demonstrations, strikes, fasts or religious functions. Congress and some other opposition parties have termed it as a ‘Tughlaqi’ decree of the government. At the same time, officials said that issuing such bulletins before the session is part of the ‘regular’ process.

In a bulletin issued by Rajya Sabha Secretary General PC Modi ahead of the Parliament’s session starting on July 18, an appeal has been made to the MPs for cooperation on this issue. It states that members cannot use the premises of Parliament House for dharnas, demonstrations, strikes, fasts or religious functions. Leaders of the opposition have held dharnas, demonstrations inside the Parliament premises for some time. They have also protested and fasted near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the campus.

Also read: Now words like ‘Jumlajeevi’, ‘Taanashah’, ‘Incompetent’, ‘Vinash Purush’, ‘Nikkama’ declared unparliamentary in LS & RS

On the objection of the opposition parties, the Rajya Sabha Secretariat has said that such a bulletin or circular is usually issued before each session of Parliament. While sharing a copy of a similar circular issued during the Congress-led UPA government in 2013, the Secretariat said that such circulars are being issued for many years.

MPs should not disrespect any religion
The Rajya Sabha Secretariat has also advised the MPs to avoid it in the midst of a controversy going on for some time due to religious remarks in the country. The Secretariat has again reminded the MPs of the Ethical Code of Conduct. The MPs have been asked not to disrespect any religion or work and refrain from commenting on it. The code of conduct states that the members must accept their responsibility for upholding the public’s trust in themselves and work diligently to discharge their mandate for the betterment of the people.

Do not do anything that will tarnish the image of Parliament
Members have been asked not to do anything which will tarnish the image of Parliament and affect their credibility. He should use his position as a Member of Parliament to further the general welfare of the people. They should always see that their personal financial interests and the interests of their family members do not conflict with the public interest.

Avoid asking questions or making offers for money
It also states that members should not introduce any bills or proposals by taking money. They should not take such gifts which may hinder the honest and fair discharge of their official duties.

If members have confidential information on account of their being Members of Parliament or Members of Parliamentary Committees, they should not disclose such information to further their personal interests. Members should refrain from giving certificates to individuals and institutions that have no personal interest.

The Rajya Sabha in the recent few sessions has seen several members behaving aggressively, including on several occasions when members have been suspended for behaving with security staff in an unacceptable manner. In fact, during the first phase of the budget session, 12 opposition MPs were suspended for the entire session for causing bodily harm to the security personnel of Parliament and threatening the chair.

Congress General Secretary and party’s Chief Whip in Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh, targeting the government, tweeted that the latest attack of “Vishwaguru…” He also shared the bulletin of July 14 with it. RJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha alleged that after running a bulldozer on parliamentary discourse through a new list of unparliamentary words, now a new Tughlaqi decree has come that you cannot hold dharna, demonstration or fast in the Parliament premises. He said that what is happening in the 75th year of the country’s independence? Learn from neighboring Sri Lanka, Huzoor…Jai Hind.

Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi tweeted about Rajya Sabha Secretariat Bulletin, “Will they now do the same for questions asked in Parliament? I hope this is not an unparliamentary question to ask.” CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury criticized the government and said it was an attempt to suppress the voice of democracy. He said that the more useless the government, the more cowardly. Democracy is being mocked by taking out such dictatorial orders. It is a political right of the MPs to picket in the Parliament House complex, which is being violated.

Avoid allegations without facts: Birla
On the new direction, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that no new bulletin has been issued from Lok Sabha, but issuance of such bulletins is a routine process. This process has been going on for a long time. Such a bulletin was also issued in 2009. He said that we urge all political parties not to make political allegations without facts about democratic institutions like Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Assemblies.

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